Posts tagged capitalism
Posts tagged capitalism
This election is going to be a slow-mo train wreck, and I’m 100% here for it.
Yeah, but instead of signing away your voice for a dude, you’re signing away your your future paychecks for a piece of paper that theoretically qualifies you for said paycheck.
Of course, when you’re drowning in student loan debt, you have absolutely no right to speak up because you took out those loans dammit, and it’s not like credentialism and economic inequality, coupled with rising higher ed costs had anything to do with your choice because reasons and bootstraps. And a crippling recession that has you competing with a whole different class of older, experienced, more educated workers for entry level jobs, well, them’s the breaks, kid. Also, the depressed wages of the bottom 80% of Americans definitely didn’t influence your inability to pay on this debt with a higher interest rate than what the big banks pay for their bailouts. Nope. Not at all.
In a sick way, I suppose you’re signing away your voice in order to place a bet on a rigged roulette wheel overseen by plutocrats drunk on crony capitalism, who, while on an epic bender with the political class, managed to socialize the house’s risk and privatize its profits. Sorry, plebes.
At least the eternity part is 100% correct. Sallie Mae will follow you to the grave. Shit, they’d probably put a lien on your headstone and the plot in which you are buried.
Hundreds of poor people waiting outside of a closed grocery store for the possibility of getting the remaining food is not the picture of the “American Dream.” Yet on March 23, outside the Laney Walker Supermarket in Augusta, Ga., that is exactly what happened.
Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.
The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”
And what would be more likely to cause a riot? Hungry, desperate people denied the food they were told they would receive, or distribution of said food? I’d be tempted to say that this is capitalism at its most dysfunctional, but it’s actually functioning as it is supposed to here. If a commodity can’t turn a profit for a capitalist, the capitalist is encouraged by the profit motive to dispose of the good quickly. As the author, Sarah Carlson, writes:
In a capitalist society, the motive behind the production of food is not to feed people, housing is not made to give them shelter, clothing is not made to keep them warm, and health care is not offered primarily to keep people healthy. All of these things, which are and should be viewed as basic rights, are nothing other than commodities—to be bought and sold—from which to make a profit. If a profit cannot be made, usually due to overproduction in relation to the market, the commodity is considered useless by the capitalist and destroyed.
Disgusting and heartbreaking. This is not an economic crisis — this is economic violence.
Bill O’Reilly, giving us a healthy dose of WTF, topped off with a dollop of denial and sprinkles of American Exceptionalism.
Let me summarize this: “Ignore the bad shit, folks, nothing to see here. Reasons. Noble America. Capitalism.” I’d say these things are more than “grievances,” Bill O. And taxes? How ELSE do you suggest we fund the government? Unicorns and smiles don’t pay the bills.
Yes, Bill O. You’re wrong about this.
Jonah Goldberg, suggesting conservatives should beat young people ’til they think capitalism is cool.
There’s many problems with Goldberg’s statement, but this one is glaringly obvious: We don’t have capitalism in this country. The game is rigged. For example, we have a financial system that unfairly rewards undue risk by allowing “too big to fail” to become the standard for large financial institutions to receive government help, yet homeowners preyed upon by the same institutions are told “You KNEW the risk” and denied help outright or are given table scraps. And then no regulation is put in place to stop this because freedoms. That’s not capitalism, my friends.
If you want to pretend we have capitalism for a minute, fine – it’s only for the poor. We have capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich. Remember the first round of bailouts under Bush? We socialized the risk and privatized the profit.
So Mr. Goldberg, if you really want to beat the socialism out of someone, find a Goldman Sachs or Bank of America exec.
Oh, capitalism. You’re so ghoulish:
A mere 30 minutes after the announcement of Houston’s death became widespread, the price of her 2007 album “The Ultimate Collection" nearly doubled on iTunes from £4.99 ($7.87) to £7.99 ($12.61) as reported by Digital Spy. By Sunday evening, the album had dropped back to its original price. Initially, ire was directed at iTunes, but it has since been reported that the price change was caused by Sony who adjusted the wholesale price of the album causing iTunes to process an automatic adjustment.
What reason could Sony have for this adjustment besides trying to make bank on the singer’s death? Sony argues that it was all a mistake, and that the original price was inaccurate. According to Sony, Houston’s album had been under-priced for a while now, her death simply called attention to the mistake, which was promptly fixed.
Translation: We realized the album was under-priced compared to how many people were going to be downloading the shit out of Whitney’s greatest hits. Of course, Sony was only doing what capitalism would suggest - pay attention to supply and demand.
The red and blue is not be taken as representative of political party. However, it IS an interesting breakdown of where the interests of the US Congress fall. Alan Grayson has also pointed to lobbying influence as well. At a 2010 conference, Grayson said, “We’re now in a situation where a lobbyist can walk into my office…and say, ‘I’ve got five million dollars to spend, and I can spend it for you or against you. Which do you prefer?’”
Much has also been made of Occupy Wall Street promoters like Michael Moore being in the 1%, so why don’t they just give away all of their money and make everyone equal, etc… I’m tired of this strawman counter. That’s like telling a group of physicians concerned about the situation in Appalachia regarding medical care to stop advocating for change, and to instead donate all their time, money, and supplies to fixing it, or else they are an illegitimate organization and have no right to bitch.
Moore has given generously to charity, including 60% of the profits from Fahrenheit 9/11, he donates half of his royalties from books sold at local bookstores to local libraries (plus the bookstores running the events have all agreed to donate $1 from their sales price) at each stop on his recent book tour, he works with several progressive organizations and with unions, and began the non-profit, mostly volunteer-run Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan - among other efforts. Here, he further explains his thoughts on charity to Sean Hannity.
So let’s pretend for a moment that the rich redistribute to the jobless of their own free will. Then what? Do jobs magically appear out of thin air? The need never re-occurs?
Moore explains his viewpoint well on being a member of the 1% and fighting for the 99% in a post entitled "Life Among The 1%" [emphasis mine]:
"How can you claim to be for the poor when you are the opposite of poor?!" It’s like asking: "You’ve never had sex with another man - how can you be for gay marriage?!" I guess the same way that an all-male Congress voted to give women the vote, or scores of white people marched with Martin Luther Ling, Jr. (I can hear these righties yelling back through history: "Hey! You’re not black! You’re not being lynched! Why are you with the blacks?!"). It is precisely this disconnect that prevents Republicans from understanding why anyone would give of their time or money to help out those less fortunate. It is simply something their brain cannot process. "Kanye West makes millions! What’s he doing at Occupy Wall Street?!" Exactly - he’s down there demanding that his taxes be raised. That, to a right-winger, is the definition of insanity. To everyone else, we are grateful that people like him stand up, even if and especially because it is against his own personal financial interest. It is specifically what that Bible those conservatives wave around demands of those who are well off.
Anyhow, money is not electing Michael Moore. However, money is electing those who set the policies leading to such wealth disparity in this country. We must pay attention to those who’ve sold us out and continued the same policies since before many in my generation were even born. Campaign finance reform is crucial, and perhaps we should begin rethinking this whole neoliberal, late capitalism thing.
If your biggest bone to pick with Occupy Wall Street is that Michael Moore is advocating for it, we’re well on our way to winning.
^^Here’s hoping that becomes one of those meaningless wisdom quotes^^
Of course, I’m not spamming catchy slogans or anything. I’ve hopped on Tumblr to say something, anything as I’ve been absent for the past few weeks. So after I scrolled down my feed and had a look at what has been happening, I noticed another argument that taxation is theft. This may be my fault. I have anarchist and capitalist sympathies and may have followed the ultra-liberal blogs of tumblr. Usually, this argument flows over me, I greet it as a old friend and with a nod and a wink, send it back. On this occasion sadly, I nearly drown.
Tax is Theft.
The argument that tax is theft stems from the involuntary nature of tax. It either asserts that a government that respects the liberty, freedom and rights of the people must not threaten them into submitting to the state’s authority or that government and it’s actions can never be justified. The anarchist pose the latter and as such, the question of legitimate taxation is moot for them. This article is mostly directed at the governmental-minimalists, such as liberation doctrine. However, I do urge the anarchists to continue reading, as natural property remains an issue they must address and is something I will cover.
Let us examine the argument:
A: “Theft is depriving of someone the usage of something they own.” I looked around for definitions from dictionaries and such but most of them tied theft to the unlawful taking of property, so clearly they were in many ways bias. Equally, it was simply impossible to articulate theft without reference to property. I concluded that theft could be widely thought of as the denial of usage of something one owns as property is fundamentally about usage rights. If you steal my car, I still own it but am denied the right of usage entailed by ownership. Lastly, theft is differs from borrowing because it lacks consent. I therefore initially added “without consent” to my definition. However, I removed it as the right to usage presumes voluntary allowance and I therefore felt it redundant.
B: “Government taxation is universal and non-negotiable at the individual level.” Clearly, I presume quite a specific form of enlightened government. The Ancien Régime of the French Valois and Bourbon dynasties taxed heavily the Third Estate with little to no taxation for the first or second. Incontestably, universal is not necessary. However, many minimalist governments positions stress individual liberty and corollary equal treatment before the law. As such, when this argument is used, it presumes universality, even if that isn’t always the case. Equally, you don’t get to barter the amount or refuse to pay at the individual level. It can be argued that tax can be changed via political mechanism but other than that, we all pay the full amount. I therefore felt it important to acknowledge this as it plays an important role further on.
C: “Tax is theft.” This is an outcome.
So to recap:
A: “Theft is depriving of someone the usage of something they own.”
B: “Government taxation is universal and non-negotiable at the individual level.”
C: “”Tax is theft.”
The argument thus goes like this: If A^B :: C
Tacit Consent, Locke and Toilet Roll!
There you have it then, the argument against taxation. This is put very simply and loaded with assumptions, assumptions we may have to examine in turn to see if we still follow the argument to the conclusion. For example and mentioned earlier, one must identify what property is. If property is something wholly imparted by the government, property becomes a privilege. If you follow British philosopher John Locke however, property is natural and you have it before government. Property is thus a right. As many American libertarians cite constitutional rights and the founding father whom wrote it cited Locke, it is reasonable to presume that the concept of natural property rights is what American libertarians work from. Thus, it may be useful to know what Locke taught of the matter.
Locke, a social contract theorist thought like the others that if one could conceive of human nature without government, one could rationalize as to why people would rationally choose to be governed. In fact, I’m of the avid belief that anarchists are social contract theorists whom couldn’t find a good enough reason to play matchmaker between people and governance. For Locke, good government ensured freedom by bringing in an impartial judge to punish those whom would attempt to deny one’s rights, to both liberty and property. So it was imperative that rational people come together and found said impartial judiciary. Now, unlike Hobbes whom figured that was the end of things, Locke felt it wasn’t right to condemn the unborn generations to the will of their forefathers, no matter how rational they were been. He thus required consent to be given to the collective on a continuous basis. This is important, as if you consent to government, you consent to the levy needed to run it.
Let us take a momentary detour from Locke and head down to the local shop. You’ve got business to do but no toilet paper in the house. So you have come down here to exchange your property, a 2 Euro coin for the shopkeepers’ bogroll. You walk down isle, pick up a pack of TP and approach the counter. You drop the coin into the shopkeepers’ hand while swapping pleasantries and then head back home.
Why is this important to our discussion of government taxation rights? It illustrates the concept of tacit consent. By your actions, you agreed to a non-verbal, non-written contract exchanging coin for roll. Equally, whereas voting in a democratic process would be preferred as loud consent, the usage of public infrastructure offers tacit consent to the social contract. As discussed above, a government needs funding to run and consenting to the social contract is consent to carry that burden. Thus, the original argument is undermined as the government is not taking your property anymore, rather it is collecting payment for services rendered. The money levied is no longer your money and belongs to the government.
Revolts and Aliens.
Now, Locke laid the foundations for capitalist governments to develop, it could and has been argued so it seems strange that his writings oppose what is generally felt to be a “Free Market” position. However, as you can see, Locke proposed a consent-based view to taxation, where refusal was wrong not because tax must be paid as a rule but rather because you consented to pay. It is a “Free Market” position. What may be attacked is the idea of silent agreement, though I would move softly as the concept underpins many day-to-day activities and is the prime reason tourists and other foreigners must respect the law while present in the country.
Thus, if you truly belief tax is completely unfair you would seem to have three options at your disposal. First, you can join the anarchists and outright rebel! You would have to completely remove yourself from society to be successful in this case or you will give constant tacit consent. This is really only important if you wished to maintain ideas of property of course. Second, you can democratically lobby for lower taxes. This seems like the expected response most non-libertarians suggest. However, if you could conceive of convincing argumentation for the lowering of tax to nil, you may not need a democratic push to achieve it so what at first seems like the fair and logical way is really just pandering to the crowd. This suggests mutability of rights and arbitrary will which should be abhorred by a republic. Lastly, you could attempt to change the fundamental rules of your government to make tax illegal. I include this because it has been suggested in the past but if you’ve been paying any attention, you can see how frivolous a position it becomes.
Personally, I don’t have an answer. I also don’t consider this to be the last word on the subject. I do expect rebuttals and hate-mail. I no longer hold a vehement belief in no taxation. I am now in the muddled territory of indecision. I will likely hold this position until I have reasoned out many other areas of my political philosophy. However, I still appeal to the same premise for all my politics to subscribe to: Justice. For this reason, I’ll still likely be a torn in socialist behinds.
Shane Geoghegan, prefers Hobbes anyway.
Interesting perspective here… I identify more as a neo-Marxist, and it’s rare I see anyone try to defend the anarcho-capitalist point of view while still acknowledging there may be a necessity for taxation. Thoughts?
Bill Maher’s take on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Well done.
Nicholas Kristof, “America’s Primal Scream”
Kristof hits the mark in this column. In light of the mass arrests across the nation, let’s remember how this has grown since its beginning on September 17th. The Occupy movement has gone global in about a month.
September 17th was the beginning. October 15th is not an ending. It marks the commencement of occupying everywhere.
(Source: The New York Times)
Or have you arrested for wanting to close your account…
This isn’t capitalism. This is predation.
The richest 1% of US Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country’s income and control an astonishing 40% of its wealth. Inequality in the US is more extreme than it’s been in almost a century — and the gap between the super rich and the poor and middle class people has widened drastically over the last 30 years.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a bitter partisan debate over how to cut deficit spending and reduce the US’ 14.3 trillion dollar debt is underway. As low and middle class wages stagnate and unemployment remains above 9%, Republicans and Democrats are tussling over whether to slash funding for the medical and retirement programs that are the backbone of the US’s social safety net, and whether to raise taxes — or to cut them further.
The budget debate and the economy are the battleground on which the 2012 presidential election race will be fought. And the United States has never seemed so divided — both politically and economically.
How did the gap grow so wide, and so quickly? And how are the convictions, campaign contributions and charitable donations of the top 1% impacting the other 99% of Americans? Fault Lines investigates the gap between the rich and the rest.
This episode of Fault Lines first aired on Al Jazeera English on August 2, 2011 at 0930 GMT.
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